In jewelry the term aigrette refers to a jewel for the hair. Initially designed in the sub continent of India around the 12th century, this type of gem-set decoration was called a sarpech and appointed the turbans of Hindu and Muslim nobility. As colonialism developed in India its use shifted to that of a hair accessory during the Georgian era when wigs and august hairstyles were the height of haute couture.
The etiology of the word aigrette is French for the tufted crest or head plumes of the egret (heron) as the ornament typically is in the shape of a plume or designed to hold a feather. The fashionista of the later Victorian years as well as those of the Art Deco period were fond of the style.
This particular aigrette is from the private collection of the owner of The Three Graces obtained in London in 2005. It is made of silver and 20 karat rose and yellow gold and features a striking rose cut diamond of 8 mm by 6 mm centered in an open work petal form.
Set closed back in a rub-over pinched collet of silver, the .60 carat diamond (L-N color; SI2-3 clarity) visually looks as though it is closer to 1 carat as this particular cut has a flat bottom and a dome shaped crown. Thus it is seen as having a larger surface. A series of fourteen gold plumes set with marquise shaped disks are set similar to “en tremblant" — attached to a mechanism which creates a trembling effect as the wearer moves. Hinged, the two pin hair fittings are of metal.